Going Back to Work: the Office Edition
Getting back to the "normal" is hard when you have a new normal. How can you easily transition back to your professional life after adding "mother" to the long list of beautiful and bold things about you? Jennifer Mayer, owner of Baby Caravan is sharing with us some tips to go back to work as a working mom. Today, she's speaking to mamas going back to a traditional office setting.
Preparing to return to work following maternity leave is a huge transition that leaves many mothers anxious, stressed and nervous on one hand, and perhaps even excited on the other. To return to a life that is oh so familiar, filled with adult conversations and complete meals can sound pretty dreamy after weeks of newborn care around the clock. It’s okay to feel different things all at once.
Through our 1:1 and group coaching at Baby Caravan, we’ve learned what are common concerns and fears many mothers have when returning to the office after maternity leave. So we’ve created this list of five areas moms can focus on when preparing to go back to work after maternity leave. Creating your Back-to-Work plan will help you feel more confident and prepared on day one.
Choosing childcare: This step is so vital, and something you’ll plan while on maternity leave, if not before. There are so many options, and depending on your needs you’ll find the best fit for you and your family. Hiring a full time nanny, having an au pair, joining a nanny share with another family or signing up for daycare are some of the most popular options in NYC. Whatever you choose- your childcare providers are part of your team! They’ll become close family members in no time.
Pumping: For breastfeeding moms, the logistics of pumping can be a bit intimidating to figure out at first, but you’ll find what works for you and your schedule. Prior to returning to work, be sure to contact HR to chat about pumping accommodations so you know where you’ll need to set up on day one. Next you’ll want to create a pump schedule- you’ll likely want to pump three times while you’re away from your baby during the day. Schedule your pump sessions into your schedule so you can plan your day around your pump schedule. There will be times when your schedule gets thrown- remember not to panic, and do the best you can to get back on your schedule. Third, plan to have a pump at the office, and a pump at home to keep things easy. Always have a set up back-up pump parts stashed in your desk, just in case!
What to Wear: Figuring out what to wear can be pretty stressful, A lot depends on your job and what’s expected office attire. Your body probably changed during pregnancy and postpartum, and perhaps your clothing doesn’t fit like it used to. This is so common and normal, how could it not? It’s a great excuse to go shopping! Before you got back to work, be sure to spend some time finding versatile attire that you can combine into different outfits. Purchasing a few core pieces that are easy to pump and feed in are so worth it. It’s one of the many reasons we love Mitera!
Daily Schedule and Partnering with Your Partner: Finding your new cadence and flow as a working mom can take some time. As your baby grows and develops, his or her needs will change too- especially when he or she starts sleeping through the night, you’ll feel like a new person. Creating a schedule for a smooth morning transition can be very helpful- pace wake ups, getting dressed and alternating baby care/feeding in the morning with your partner if possible. Additionally you’ll want to plan our your evening routines and divide up household tasks.
Simplify: One thing that can really help working parents is to simplify your life, to try and make the daily tasks as easy and smooth as possible. This can be achieved anywhere- from making a daily schedule of a morning routine- with all the tasks spelled out and sequenced, to meal prep short cuts (buy the pre washed and cut vegetables!), to outsourcing tasks – laundry or house cleaning perhaps? Streamlining all the daily tasks you know will need to be completed will free you up to spend more precious hours with your baby.
Jennifer is the mother of two year old Oliver and has been a practicing doula for over 12 years. In 2013 she founded Baby Caravan, a group doula practice and online community focused on education and compassionate support, that guides women on the life-changing journey of motherhood. Follow her and the Caravan to answer all your questions on pregnancy, birth, new motherhood and the return to work at www.babycaravan.com, @babycaravan on IG and here on FB.